WHO announces forthcoming updates on tuberculosis preventive treatment

In a Rapid Communication issued today, the World Health Organization (WHO) is announcing a number of updates to its forthcoming 2nd edition of the guidance on the treatment of tuberculosis (TB) infection, or TB preventive treatment (TPT). This will help national TB programmes, public and private healthcare providers, funders and other stakeholders to prepare for the changes that will be introduced when the updated guidelines and accompanying operational handbook on TPT are released later this year.

Effective TPT in people at highest risk of progression safely reduces the likelihood of developing TB disease. This includes individuals exposed to multidrug- or rifampicin-resistant TB (MDR/RR-TB).

The updated guidance will avail of the latest evidence and best available practices on TPT regimens for individuals of all ages in contact with TB patients and dosing schedules. It will also incorporate current recommendations on screening strategies to rule out TB disease ahead of starting TPT, and the use of tests of TB infection.

In September 2023, at the UN High Level Meeting on Tuberculosis, Member States committed to increase TPT to reach at least 90% of contacts, people with HIV and others eligible by 2027 [1]. “We urge national programmes, technical partners, donors, civil society and other stakeholders to support the rapid scaleup of TPT services, including the new recommendation for people exposed to MDR-TB, and work steadily towards the global targets”, said Dr Tereza Kasaeva, Director of the WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Programme.

[1] UN General Assembly. Resolution A/RES/78/5. Political declaration of the high-level meeting on the fight against tuberculosis. https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/4022582/files/A_78_L.4-EN.pdf

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